Fasten your seatbelts: can customer experiences change and match expectations?

Published date: 09 Jul 2020

As the travel industry and airline business begins to pick up, it is exciting to see that airlines are continuing to apply the 6 precious lessons learned from our TribeCX White Paper released in early June titled “Flying High Again”.

Airlines are building confidence with customers by sharing new cleaning practices and details on the effectiveness of the HEPA air filters used on board.   We have seen them build trust by implementing new policies regarding social distancing and the wearing of masks on board to protect employees and fellow customers.    And we’ve seen new technology evolving to enhance the way customers do business not just with airlines, but while at the airport as well.   

However, despite all of this, there is no denying that the new passenger experience will be different. Your customers might THINK they know what to expect, but do they really?

All those experiences passengers have come to know and love (or just tolerate), are being put through a rigorous, and rapid, review. However, its not just you putting your company through the review, your customers are doing it too. They are watching…

So, let me share a few tips and tricks from the Customers point of view. Those who are choosing to travel again are expecting your company to help them enjoy the trip and continue to be safe while doing so.

Can your experience match the customer’s expectation?

Tip #1: Customers will do their homework.  

Airlines, Airports, Hotels & Rental Car agencies are sharing a wealth of information, and the travel-savvy customer will be taking time to research each one and determine how you can help them prepare for what their new experience will offer.

Communication is key here. Not just the practical advice, you can’t forget the emotional impact your words could have right now. There is uncertainty and nerves will be playing a big part in decision making right now.

Tip #2:  Set NEW expectations for your customers for each leg of the journey.  

It WILL be different.   That all-inclusive breakfast buffet at the hotel is no longer there.   Onboard, the meal and drink service are even more limited than before and often comes in pre-packaged wrapping instead of a “hot” meal.   And while airlines and airports are working to establish Social Distancing practices for everyone’s safety, customers cannot expect to always have your 6 feet of space.

Your staff will be key here. They need to be confident in these new policies and procedures in order to educate and set these new expectations. If they are confident and knowledgeable, then customers are more likely to adjust their expectations.

Tip #3.   Wear a mask.  

It is required and it is for the benefit of ALL involved including employees and their fellow customers.   It is simply part of the new journey experience, for now……

Lead by example and have the available PPE ready to go. Being prepared is paramount. Also understand that with half of your staff’s faces covered, verbal communication and body language is going to become more important than ever.

Tip #4.   Have patience.   

It is different and in many cases the process takes a bit longer with new policies and procedures.   And often, customers are learning about them for the 1st time as travel picks up again.    So, take a deep breath, let it ride and help travelers with the new experience along the way – and encourage them to help each other. We are all in this together.

Tip #5.   Demonstrate Empathy.   

Airlines, Airports, Hotels, and everyone in the travel experience wants their customers back!  And soon!  It is important to remember that THEY TOO are learning what it’s like to operate in a COVID 19 world. They are being bombarded with new policies & procedures everywhere they go – from the shops to the workplace, so recognize it is new for them too and try your best put yourself in to their shoes and show empathy and understanding at each step in their journey.

As our customers consider to travel again and select their favorite hotel, airline, and partners of choice along the way, we need to understand that their expectations are all over the place right now.

However, there is one simple message we want all our customers to understand: Travel often.  Travel safe.